Final Square Reflection & Tips: If I Can Do It, So Can You! Part 3
- As pastor, I make a point to use the Square about every other month so people see me using it and trusting in the technology. This means slipping to the back of the sanctuary during the offertory to swipe my card, then returning to my seat with a card saying "I gave with Square today" to put in the offering plate.
- We quickly learned that for regular givers of significant gifts the Square is NOT the best option. Our “free” plan with Square means that a percentage of each gift goes to fees (2.75%). It's small, but it adds up, especially for larger gifts. I didn't want the church losing that much of my monthly gift. So...I still write my check every month, then I periodically make a very small, more symbolic donation with Square. A finance team member and I have talked with other givers about this; most were just curious about trying it but agreed that (like me) they'd rather keep writing a check to be sure 100% of their gifts benefit the church. [Cesie here: this is where monthly automatic withdrawal or EFT (electronic fund transfer) comes in handy.]
- In summary, this has been a FABULOUS way to get new givers into the giving routine! This seems to be the biggest advantage for my congregation so far, and it's well worth the effort. [Another interjection: Kuna UMC uses a phone and a dongle. It’s much easier for smaller churches to do this. For larger churches, the iPad and a “giving card” really are must-haves.]
To Karen’s point about the importance of the pastor being involved: when we first started using the Square at Salem First UMC, Rev. Dan Pitney made an effort to point out the Giving Station weekly and he let people know that someone was available to help with the process. His support was critical to making the Square a positive giving option in our church. It’s also a really, really good idea to do a “show and tell” at your Finance Committee meeting or your Leadership Council meeting. The more buy-in, the better.
Greg Nelson, Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Director of Communications said, “…you might also share that churches that are already using PayPal for online donation or other purposes can do the same thing. PayPal’s device is a triangle (cute huh!). Here’s the link: https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/credit-card-reader.” My Square mentor, Pastor Ed Grant, from New Life Christian Center, also echoed this but added that one reason to stick with Square is that “it’s simple and it’s a flat fee.”
Ed also said, “Credit card giving should be included in any worship service where there are offerings. Can you imagine eating at your favorite restaurant, finishing the meal, pulling out your card only to be told, ‘sorry, we just take cash’?”
Finally, remember that the Square is not just for Millennials. At Salem First UMC, our most prolific Square user is well into his eighties. Every week, he comes over and gives to a special ministry. He loves it and we love giving him the opportunity to be generous.
And there you have it. Your guide to the Square 101. Of course, this is not meant to be an exhaustive understanding of the Square (though you may indeed be exhausted) and your experience might be a little different than others. That’s what makes the process so exciting. As Lady Gaga might say, “You’re on the right track, baby…” Maybe, you were born to be Square.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Now she has “Born This Way” in her head…watch out world. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.